Prof says he will never pursue cheating again

Did outing cheaters lead to poor evaluations, lower raise?

On advice from the school, a young computer scientist at New York University has taken down a controversial blog post entitled Why I will never pursue cheating again.

After Panagiotis Ipeirotis accused 20 per cent of students in one of his classes of plagiarism, he ended up with much lower student-teacher evaluation scores than ever before, he wrote in the now removed blog post. He had discovered the cheating using software and many of the students confessed when confronted. He was proud to have done the right thing.

Then the low scores from students were cited in a performance review as justification for his smallest-ever pay raise.

“Was it worth it? Absolutely not,” he wrote, referring to the confrontation with students. “Not only [have] I paid a significant financial penalty for ‘doing the right thing’… teaching became annoying and tiring.”

He told Inside Higher Ed in an e-mail that the point he was trying to make was that “as educators, we should be focusing on making cheating impossible. Not through enforcement but by designing evaluation schemes that are much less amenable to cheating.” He suggested that replacing assignments with in-class competitions could eliminate the need to police students.

Regarding the low pay increse, Ingo Walter, a business school dean, wrote the following. “Faculty evaluation is based on a detailed annual review of research, teaching and service to the department, the university and the profession. This includes possible class-feedback consequences in plagiarism or cheating cases in course evaluations. Moreover, the course evaluation input of any student who has an honor code infraction is removed from consideration when evaluating teaching performance.”